Friends clinking glasses with wine above dinner table

Really Stressed? Find Your Real Tribe

This Saturday I am doing something bold. I am going drive two hours to meet a couple of friends (who I met on the internet) and celebrate National Stress Awareness Day.

Believe it or not, there is a day to be aware of what stresses you out during the first week of November. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like this is one most parents don’t really need a special day to remember. I mean, do you know any mom who doesn’t feel a bit overwhelmed or strung out?

If so, please ask her to teach the rest of us her magical ways. 

Seriously, though, stress is an enormous issue for most of us. As a result, you see a lot of talk about #SelfCare, reminders that we should be kind to ourselves so we can take care of our loved ones, or how exercise and rest are so important to reducing stress…

Do you ever get stressed out about all the ways to get unstressed? Just me? Ok. 

Did you know one of the best ways we can combat stress is to reach out to our friends? It’s not just anecdotal that the “ladies who lunch” are better off, it’s scientifically proven.

Women, by and large, are social creatures. We need our gal-pals. We need our village.

Unfortunately, in an age of social media and constant connection, but where we rarely pick up the phone just to chat carving out time to ‘just hang’ with our friends can be easier said than done.

Only a few years ago I would have balked at the idea of “abandoning” my family on a random Saturday to drive several hours away to spend a day with friends. If it were an event, like a baby shower, then maybe I could talk myself out of the guilt.

It’s not just me. Like a lot of women, I found my circle of friends significantly shrunk after I had children. For years I lamented all those lost connections. I explained to my husband how it is difficult to grow new friendships that center on your children, particularly as your children begin to blossom into themselves.

I made mom-friends, and then I’d lose them to the chaos of motherhood. It happens.

Social media made things a little easier for me to keep in touch with friends and family separated by distance, but there is a lot judgement out there on the interwebs, too. Best not to share too much. Not even when you spend your days writing for the public eye.

In the void, I struggled with my anxiety and the depression it brought.

I wondered if this is how it always was.

Then a funny thing happened. There was a shift in the last few years: women, just like me, got sick of the bullshit. It was time for something better. Something REAL. Real life, real connections, the really real reality of motherhood.

This space, Reality Moms, was born of that zeitgeist. I can honestly say this space we hold for each other, the writers who have been drawn to this idea, the amazing audience who enthusiastically relate to our stories, this community has been an enormous blessing in my world. Because it was here I found my village. 

So today I’m going to see my friend Lynne, and meet my friend Mia for the first time. Maybe we will talk about our kids, or writing, of our favorite fall fun, or the holiday gift guides we may be working on.

We’ll eat and laugh, that I’m sure of.

Whatever happens, I’m not going to stress about it. I’m sure it will be fun.

For certain it will be real.

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One Response

  1. It is sad that we feel guilty for wanting a little time for ourselves every now and again, especially when there are bajillions of demands on our time in this hectic world. So much sacrifice and hard work goes into raising children, so Mums (& Dads) should never feel guilty of wanting to spend some time with their friends. Guys do it all the time anyway and don’t bat an eyelid. So I say go for it, raise hell and enjoy yourselves, go somewhere different, bond and keep it real. The family will appreciate the break and then realise how essential you are and will miss you too, so you get that benefit as well 🙂